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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Donald Trump: English Patient

If nothing else, Donald Trump's tweets provide good examples of common errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

National Review is a failing publication that has lost it's way. It's circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!
It's is the contract for it is.  Its is the possessive of it.

Ted Cruz is totally unelectable, if he even gets to run (born in Canada). Will loose big to Hillary. Polls show I beat Hillary easily! WIN!

From Common Errors in English: This confusion can easily be avoided if you pronounce the word intended aloud. If it has a voiced Z sound, then it’s “lose.” If it has a hissy S sound, then it’s “loose.” Here are examples of correct usage: “He tends to lose his keys.” “She lets her dog run loose.” Note that when “lose” turns into “losing” it loses its “E.”

Wow, just saw an ad - Cruz is lying on so many levels. There is nobody more against ObamaCare than me, will repeal & replace. He lies!

Cruz Mailer Backfires

Green and Gerber experimented with "social pressure" mailers to increase turnout. David Weigel reports at The Washington Post:
In his best-selling book "The Victory Lab," reporter Sasha Issenberg pointed to the "social pressure" experiment as a daring, clever way to bring out a political base. In 2012, MoveOn used pressure-style mailers to turn out progressive votes for President Obama.

Yet today, a similar letter from Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Tex.) to Iowa Republicans is becoming a mini-scandal. On Saturday morning, Republican strategist and writer Sarah Rumpf found a tweet (now deleted) from Iowa voter Tom Hinkelday, displaying a Cruz mailer meant to look like a "VOTER VIOLATION."
"CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE," read the mailer, patterned after a report card, "and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses."
Cruz's campaign quickly confirmed the origins of the mailer, even as Cruz endorser and radio host Steve Deace pronounced it fake. And Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, condemned it.
"Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act," he said in a statement. "There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses."
Sarah Rumpf reports at The Washington Examiner:
Tom Hinkeldey, a resident of Alta, Iowa, tweeted a photo (which was later deleted because it included his personal address) on Friday evening of a mailer Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign sent addressed to his wife, Steffany. The mailer was a large card printed to look like a manila envelope on one side and was labeled in all capital letters, “ELECTION ALERT,” “VOTER VIOLATION,” “PUBLIC RECORD,” and “FURTHER ACTION NEEDED.”

Saturday, January 30, 2016

GDP: Ruh Roh

Jeff Cox writes at CNBC:
When it comes to economic growth, 2016 is looking a lot like 2015 — and probably even worse.
Friday's report showing that gross domestic product grew just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter brought to a conclusion another year of dashed hopes for economic liftoff — "escape velocity," as it is sometimes called.
Seven years of zero interest rates, $3.7 trillion worth of Fed money printing and more than $6 trillion piled onto the public debt resulted in an economy still struggling to break 2.5 percent full-year growth. In fact, if the first reading on GDP holds up on revision, the U.S. economy will have expanded just 2.4 percent for the full year, according to the Commerce Department.
At the start of 2015, most economists expected U.S. growth of 3 percent or better, predicated on sizable gains in consumer spending, business investment and construction. Instead, the year featured consumers mostly hanging onto their gas savings, weak capital expenditures (including a decline of 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter) and slumping oil prices battering investment instead of lifting spending.

Looking ahead, the early indicators are not good, with chances of a recession gaining more traction on Wall Street.
Joel Kotkin writes at Forbes:
Instead of pushing them to the GOP, a recession could further radicalize the Democrats but not upset their control of dark blue states. But the deepening decline in the real tangible economy — energy, manufacturing, agriculture — could prove a boon to the GOP in much of the rest of the country.

Before the decline in oil prices many areas in the middle of the country enjoyed a gusher in energy jobs, providing high wage employment (roughly $100,000 annually, exceeding compensation for information, professional services, or manufacturing). Due largely to energy, states such as Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota have enjoyed consistently the highest jobs growth since 2007, and were among the first states to gain back all the jobs lost in the recession.

Of course, tough times in red states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and North Dakota will only pad Republican gains. But there are other, contestable heartland states — Ohio and Pennsylvania, in particular — that also benefited from the expansion of fracking, which created whole new markets for manufactured products like pipes and compressors. Similarly, the administration’s directive to crack down on coal plants could be problematic for Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana, which rank among those most reliant on coal for electricity. Not surprisingly much of the opposition to the EPA’s decrees come from heartland states.


To the problems of regulation and market turbulence, manufacturing economies are also threatened by the rising value of the dollar, which threatens the Rust Belt’s prime exports and bolsters competitors, both in Europe and Asia. After all, manufactured goods are the leading export in much of the upper Midwest while food exports, also hard-hit by the hard dollar, dominate many Great Plains economies. In 2012, a recovering Rust Belt was critical to President Obama’s victory; a weakened industrial economy could make Republicans more competitive in the region, particularly if they nominate an electable candidate.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cosmopolitans and Traditionalists, Court and Country

Sean Trende writes about a cosmopolitan/traditional divide that corresponds roughly to outsiderism and insiderism:
Where this becomes relevant – indeed, I think this is crucial – is that the leadership of the Republican Party and the old conservative movement is, itself, culturally cosmopolitan. I doubt if many top Republican consultants interact with many Young Earth Creationists on a regular basis. Many quietly cheered the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decisions. Most of them live in blue megapolises, most come from middle-class families and attended elite institutions, and a great many of them roll their eyes at the various cultural excesses of “the base.” There is, in other words, a court/country divide among Republicans.
This has been exacerbated by the crack-up of the Clinton Coalition and the rapid transformation of the Democratic Party into an aggressively culturally cosmopolitan institution (think Bill Clinton to Al Gore to John Kerry to Barack Obama). This change pushed out many of the Jacksonians that formed the backbone of the party for 150 years, creating an influx of lower-middle-class/working-class voters, in turn swelling the ranks of the cultural traditionalists among the Republicans.
Which brings us to Trump. If there is anything positive I can say about Trump it is this: He gets this cosmopolitan/traditionalist divide, and he is the only candidate who lands foursquare with the traditionalists.
Take Trump’s speech announcing his candidacy. David Byler and I had no idea what we were onto when David text-mined Trump’s speech and found that his announcement was the only one out of the 15 candidates’ announcements that sounded different. We (and others) took this as a sign of Trump’s quirkiness and a reason Trump wouldn’t last. But we clearly missed the boat. It was actually one of the most important data points of the campaign, and it has a lot to do with why Trump has been successful.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reacting to Trump

Adrian Carrasquillo reports at Buzzfeed:
If Trump has tapped into disaffected voters this year with his immigration rhetoric, there is also an unintended consequence — a mix of naturalization efforts, voter registration efforts, and ultimately efforts to mobilize voters off Trump’s rhetoric.
In the last 14 years, the local Culinary Union’s umbrella union, Unite Here, has helped push for 15,000 naturalizations. This year, Unite Here wants to help 2,500 people naturalize by June 1, so they can become U.S. citizens before the election — in addition to registering 10,000 new voters.
And then there’s Mi Familia Vota, an advocacy group with a long history of voter registration and naturalization efforts, aiming to help 300 people begin the months-long naturalization process at their first event of the year. Along with partner organizations, the group will help launch the effort in Las Vegas two days before the Republican primaries begin. The nationwide effort led by iAmerica, labor groups like SEIU, and Mi Familia Vota will include events in Colorado, Florida, Texas, and California.
“We’ve seen more people this year that want to become citizens and specifically because they want to vote against Trump,” said Mi Familia Vota executive director Ben Monterroso.
Scott Clement reports at The Washington Post:
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say the idea of Donald Trump becoming president makes them anxious, according to a new Washington-Post-ABC News poll that is the latest to reinforce the fact that the GOP front-runner faces clear obstacles to broadening his appeal in a general election.
The Post-ABC poll finds 69 percent of Americans feel anxious about of a Trump presidency, while 3 in 10 are comfortable with the idea -- both similar to a Post-ABC poll last month.
Few of the top presidential contenders inspire great comfort with the public at-large. Nearly half say they feel anxious about Ted Cruz as president (49 percent), while 48 percent say the same of Marco Rubio.
Among Democratic hopefuls, 51 percent of Americans say they are anxious about Hillary Clinton becoming president, while 43 percent are similarly concerned about Bernie Sanders in the White House. Sanders is the only candidate tested in the poll for whom a plurality -- 50 percent -- says they feel comfortable with as president. (Expect the Sanders campaign to push this number as they make their case that the democratic socialist is electable.)
Despite those tepid ratings, anxiety surrounding a Trump presidency exceeds all candidates by a wide margin, with the gap concentrated with intense concerns. The 51 percent who feel "very" anxious about Trump is significantly higher than Clinton (35 percent), Cruz (26), Sanders (24) or Rubio (18).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Religious and Pro-Life People Against Trump

A group of pro-life women leaders have a message for pro-life voters ahead of the first presidential primary and caucus votes next month: Don’t vote for Donald Trump, he can’t be trusted on abortion.

In a letter provided to LifeNews, the group of pro-life women leaders claim Trump is not trustworthy on the abortion issue because offhanded comments he’s made make it appear he supports pro-abortion judges on the Supreme Court or a pro-abortion vice-presidential running mate. The group includes heavy hitters like Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America and black pro-life activist Star Parker.
While we share much of the frustration over the failure of the GOP to make significant progress, we are reminded of Republicans’ once oft-quoted criticism of President Bill Clinton: character matters.
Donald J. Trump left his first wife and married his mistress, only to leave her a few years later for another mistress. Reportedly he left his second wife by leaking the news to a NY newspaper and left the headline on the bed for his wife to find. In his book, The Art of the Deal, Trump bragged about having sex with many women, including some who were married. He has appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine with a model wearing only his tuxedo jacket. He has mocked the disability of a NY Times reporter. He belittled John McCain for being a prisoner of war. His casino in Atlantic City was the first in the country to open up a strip club. His Twitter account is a running barrage of insults, lies, and personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with him. And did we mention he famously cheats at golf? Now who does that remind you of?
Now ask yourself: does this man have the character becoming of the President of the United States?
Dr. Everett Piper, President, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University:
On January 18, Jerry Falwell, Jr. welcomed Donald Trump to Liberty University to speak in the school’s chapel. As the college president who wrote the “this is not a daycare” article that received so much national attention recently, I have been asked by the media if I would be next: Will I be inviting Mr. Trump to Oklahoma Wesleyan University to speak in our chapel service? My answer has been simple and brief. No, I will not.
Anyone who is pro-abortion is not on my side. Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.
I refuse to let my desire to win “trump” my moral compass. I will not sell my soul or my university’s to a political process that values victory more than virtue.
No, Donald Trump will not be speaking at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

Trevin Wax writes at the Religion News Service:
Trump says he is pro-life because of a “superstar” child who could have been aborted.

Consider how he responded to a reporter who wondered if he would have become pro-life had the child been a “loser”: “Probably not, but I’ve never thought of it. I would say no, but in this case it was an easy one because he’s such an outstanding person.”

To summarize Trump’s view: “I’m pro-life because we shouldn’t abort fetuses that may grow up to be outstanding people.”

But opponents of abortion take a different position: “I’m pro-life because we shouldn’t kill innocent human beings, no matter who they might grow up to be.”

Trump’s reason for being pro-life depends on the potential outcome of the child in the womb, rather than the fact that there is a child in the womb. But the pro-life ethic is grounded in the inherent worth of all humanity. It is wrong to commit violence against innocent human beings. Full stop.

And that’s where, ironically, Trump’s position sounds similar to the pro-choice idea that the human fetus is “potential life” or that the value of the unborn depends on whether or not the child is “wanted.”

Carson Uses Fake Tocqueville Again

Timothy Meinch reports at The Des Moines Register:
Carson campaign organizers say two staffers are dedicated full-time to pastors and church outreach. His bus, “the Healer Hauler” (which has its own Twitter account), shows up with volunteers to serve free lunch at congregations, even when Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, is out of state.
Carson’s swings through Iowa regularly include private meetings with clergy and guest appearances at Sunday morning services.
However, earlier this month during a chat with The Des Moines Register between campaign stops, Carson said he avoids targeting specific groups for votes.
The conversation was punctuated by a series of dropped phone calls, due to poor cell service on rural back roads, that campaign staff had arranged with a bishop in Birmingham, Ala. Carson ultimately passed off the phone and said others should follow up with the bishop.
Asked about his focus on pastors and churches, Carson quoted French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville: “America is great because America is good.”
The Tocqueville quotation is fake.  He never said any such thing.

Carson has been using the fake quotation for years.  (See here, too.)

Grim Americans

Gallup reports:
With the first voting of the 2016 presidential election less than a week away, 40% of Americans rate the country's current situation as positive, little changed since 2010, but well below the historical average and the more positive ratings measured between 2001 and 2008.
The current rating is somewhat higher than the lows in Gallup's trends, recorded before Richard Nixon's resignation over the Watergate scandal in 1974 (33%), and in the midst of a bad economy and soaring gas prices in 1979 (34%).
These assessments are based on one of three "ladder scale" questions Gallup has used periodically since 1959. These ask Americans to rate their feelings about the country currently, in five years and five years ago, using a zero to 10 scale, where zero equals the worst possible situation for the country and 10 equals the best possible situation. Ratings between 6 and 10 are categorized as positive.
This latest assessment was included in Gallup's Mood of the Nation survey, conducted Jan. 6-10.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Trump's Anti-Catholic Spokesperson

Peter Hasson reports at The Daily Caller:
The nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization is demanding an apology from Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson for a tweet in which she openly mocked the Catholic Church. Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, said that he also wants Donald Trump to give assurances that he will not tolerate anti-Catholicism in his campaign.
“No one makes a comment like this without harboring an animus against Catholicism. It would be instructive to learn more about Pierson’s thoughts on the subject. Perhaps she can share them with us,” Donohue said in a press release on Monday. “In the meantime, Pierson needs to apologize to Catholics for making such a snide remark. We would also like to hear assurances from Donald Trump that he will not tolerate anti-Catholicism in his campaign.”

For the record, Matthew 16:18 (KJV!) says:  "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  Thus He made Peter the first pope.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Peasants with Tiffany Pitchforks

Julie Bykowicz reports at AP that a billionaire private-equity guy is betting an an "outsider."
Four of America's wealthiest businessmen laid the foundation for Ted Cruz's now-surging Republican presidential campaign and have redefined the role of political donors.
With just over a week until voters get their first say, the 45-year-old Texas senator known as a conservative warrior has been ascendant. The $36 million committed last year by these donor families is now going toward television, radio and online advertisements, along with direct mailings and get-out-the-vote efforts in early primary states.
The donors' super political action committees sponsored rallies Saturday in Iowa featuring Cruz and conservative personality Glenn Beck. The state holds the leadoff caucuses on Feb. 1.

The long-believing benefactors are New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, Texas natural gas billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, and private-equity partner Toby Neugebauer. They honed their plan to help Cruz before he began his steady rise in polls — even before he announced his presidential bid in March.

"No one wants to lose," Neugebauer told The Associated Press when asked why he and others bet big on Cruz. "We didn't miss that an outsider would win. I think we've nailed it."

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Roots of Trumpery

From Webster:
noun  trum·pery  \ˈtrəm-p(ə-)rē\
Definition of trumpery
Popularity: Top 10% of words
a :  worthless nonsense
b :  trivial or useless articles :  junk
archaic :  tawdry finery
What if you dropped all this leftover 19th-century piety about the free market and promised to fight the elites who were selling out American jobs? What if you just stopped talking about reforming Medicare and Social Security and instead said that the elites were failing to deliver better health care at a reasonable price? What if, instead of vainly talking about restoring the place of religion in society — something that appeals only to a narrow slice of Middle America — you simply promised to restore the Middle American core — the economic and cultural losers of globalization — to their rightful place in America? What if you said you would restorethem as the chief clients of the American state under your watch, being mindful of their interests when regulating the economy or negotiating trade deals?
That's pretty much the advice that columnist Samuel Francis gave to Pat Buchanan in a 1996 essay, "From Household to Nation," in Chronicles magazine. Samuel Francis was a paleo-conservative intellectual who died in 2005. Earlier in his career he helped Senator East of North Carolina oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. He wrote a white paper recommending the Reagan White House use its law enforcement powers to break up and harass left-wing groups. He was an intellectual disciple of James Burnham's political realism, and Francis' political analysis always had a residue of Burnham's Marxist sociology about it. He argued that the political right needed to stop playing defense — the globalist left won the political and cultural war a long time ago — and should instead adopt the insurgent strategy of communist intellectual Antonio Gramsci. Francis eventually turned into a something resembling an all-out white nationalist, penning his most racist material under a pen name. Buchanan didn't take Francis' advice in 1996, not entirely. But 20 years later, "From Household to Nation," reads like a political manifesto from which the Trump campaign springs.
To simplify Francis' theory: There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too.
Walter Russell Mead writes at The American Interest
What we are seeing in American politics today is a Jacksonian surge. It is not yet a revolution on the scale of Old Hickory’s movement that transformed American politics for a generation. Such a revolution may not be possible in today’s America, and in any case the current wave of Jacksonian activism and consciousness is still in an early and somewhat incoherent phase. In the past, moderate leaders on the center left and center right alike have found ways to capture Jacksonian energy. FDR was able to steal the demagogic energy of Huey Long; Richard Nixon marginalized George Wallace even as he responded to some of Wallace’s concerns about bussing and crime. (He did not, however, give way to Wallace on the core issue of racial equality.)
Donald Trump, for now, is serving as a kind of blank screen on which Jacksonians project their hopes. Proposing himself as a strong leader who ‘gets’ America but is above party, Trump appeals to Jacksonian ideas about leadership. Trump’s Jacksonian appeal has left the Republican Party in deep disarray, demonstrating the gulf between contemporary conservative ideology and Jacksonian nationalism. Indeed, one of the reasons that Trump hasn’t been hurt by attacks that highlight his lack of long term commitment to the boilerplate conservative agenda (either in the social or economic conservative variant) is that Jacksonian voters are less dogmatic and less conservative than some of their would-be political representatives care to acknowledge. Jacksonians like Social Security and Medicare much more than most Republican intellectuals, and they like immigration and free trade much less.

Trump Channels National Lampoon

Jeremy Diamond reports at CNN:
Donald Trump boasted Saturday that support for his presidential campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of a crowded street.
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said at a campaign rally here.
After the event, Trump declined to answer when asked by CNN to clarify his comments.
Perhaps Trump got the idea from National Lampoon.  In July, Emma Myers wrote at The Atlantic:
National Lampoon’s idea of good comedy also came with the implicit mandate of punching up, not down—or the idea of targeting those in positions of power in society, as opposed to the defenseless or already downtrodden. Take, for example, the mock vice-presidential campaign ad featuring an image of Nelson Rockefeller gleefully blowing someone’s head off with a pistol. The caption reads: “Bye Fella! I’m Nelson Rockefeller and I can do whatever I want!”
It was the March 1976 issue.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Some FAQs on the Race

Bernie Sanders had a strong debate and now some polls show him gaining ground. Why is Sanders doing so well?

Republican groups are saying good things about Sanders and attacking Clinton. Why are they helping a self-described socialist?

  • They figure that a prolonged campaign will bleed the eventual nominee.
  • Clinton is still the favorite, but they figure that Sanders, a socialist, would be a very beatable nominee.

Does Sanders have a real chance of winning the Democratic nomination?

  • He has a chance, but he would have to overcome Clinton's strength in the South and among African American voters.

The GOP race is heating up. Why have Trump and Cruz started attacking each other?

 Trump still leads all national polls. Is the race his to lose? Does Sarah Palin’s endorsement make any difference?

  • Probably not.  She is unpopular with the general public, and her odd speech for Trump probably did her no good.

The markets are unsteady and economic growth in 2016 may not be as strong as many had hoped. What impact will economic uncertainty have on the election?

  • Watch second-quarter GDP.  Weak growth will be very bad for the Democrats.

Trump Retweets a Neo-Nazi ... Again

Donald Trump was so eager to mess with Jeb Bush on Friday that he didn't hesitate to retweet a neo-Nazi with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, who's also tweeted out a cartoon of Trump in a Nazi uniform gassing Bernie Sanders.
That twitter user, who calls himself "Donald Trumpovitz," has a banner that reads "Get the f*** out of my country." His avatar photo has the caption "The man who wants to be Hitler," and his profile links to a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary and lists his location as "Jewmerica."

": Poor Jeb. I could've sworn I saw him outside Trump Tower the other day! "
Embedded image permalink

The account, which Trump featured on his personal Twitter page, is littered with neo-Nazi content. In the user’s profile, there is a link to a website for an admiring documentary describing Adolf Hitler as “a god.” The tweet pinned at the top of the @WhiteGenocideTM account includes images of people identified as Jews covered with the common white supremacist slur “mud” and yellow Stars of David used during the Holocaust.
@WhiteGenocideTM’s avatar features a picture of the deceased American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell. The profile background contains the phrase “Get the f*** out of my country.” The user also posted tweets praising Hitler.
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the tweet. The user behind @WhiteGenocideTM also didn’t respond to Twitter messages from Yahoo.
As of this writing, Trump’s tweet quoting the neo-Nazi account had been live for more than six hours.